Murakumo: Mech Hunter Review
I received Murakumo: Renegade Mech Pursuit last week and was a little worried about it before I even started to play the game. Why? Well for one thing I never heard of it. Sure there are hundreds of games out there for all of the various consoles, but I try to do a decent job of keeping track of them. So when a game makes it from the drawing board all the way to my desk without me knowing about it I get nervous. Yet sometimes one of the “sneak attacks” end ups being a real jewel and those are exciting times indeed. But other times there is a reason the game was under the radar for so long; it stinks. Unfortunately Murakumo falls into the latter group and I’ll tell you why…
Murakumo was developed by From Software, the same people that bought us the Armored Core games. I guess I was hoping that since they have had experience with Mech-style games that Murakumo would be something cool. After all there aren’t that many Mech games for the XBox, so a new addition to the genre would be welcomed. Well, make that a good addition would be welcomed. This isn’t. Also, Murakumo has Japanese-style game written all over it and with the struggles that the XBox has been having in Japan, I figure it would be good to support them. Then again, if this is the quality of game they have in Japan no wonder the Box isn’t doing better.
Murakumo is the basic story of corporate greed and machines gone bad. Think Terminator or maybe Robocop 2. The year is 2090 and there is a brand new shiny city called Oliver Port (which I thought was a neat name for a person but a lousy name for a city. Also, the name mysteriously changes in the manual. Sometimes it’s Oliver Port, other times it’s Port Oliver…) that is a showcase of sorts for a new energy source. The evil LugnalCorp is out to make a ton of money using this new energy source with something called an ARK, Artificial Reflexive Kineticiod. An ARK is just a fancy name for a big mech. Needless to say these ARKs get a mind of their own and start to act all squirrelly. That’s when you and your comrades step in and try to save the city of Oliver Port. While these nasty ARKs are flying around wreaking havoc you and your pals are given prototype Mech Hunters known as the Murakumo. The world needs you, you are the last hope, you must succeed…blah, blah, blah. Same story that we have all seen before.
OK, that takes care of the story. Now let’s go into the details. The box claims that there are 4 mode of gameplay in Murakumo: Trial, Free Mission, Expert and Story. However, there really only seems to be three actually in the game. Somewhere along the line the Trail mode must have taken a wrong turn and slammed into one of the Port Oliver (or is it Oliver Port) buildings. The Story mode, also called Scenario, is as it sounds. You are given a series of 20 missions to complete. The Free and Expert Missions can only be played after you have completed the Story (or is it Scenario) mode. It would have been thoughtful of From Software, the developers, to have allowed you to play in the Free mode as you completed each mission, but for some reason they make you finish the whole thing.
In each mission you have the choice of 5 different Mechs. Each one has different characteristics; how it handles, weapon type, speed, and durability among others. Being that the main objective of the game is to blow things up, I was disappointed in the weapon selections for the mech. There were not any really cool weapons. I was really looking forward to hunting down one of the bad guys and using a very futuristic weapon to destroy them, but it seemed to me that the most effective weapon always came down to either the mech with the gattling gun or the one with the shotgun. Not very exotic weapons in my book.